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Full text of "The Discovery Of The Child"

44               THE DISCOVERY OF THE CHILD

in the first place in utter disregard of the laws of hygiene, and
rendered still worse by having been used as temporary habitations,
•came to be occupied by the poorest class in the city.

The apartments not being prepared for the working class, were
too large, consisting of five, six, or seven rooms. These were rented
at a price which, while exceedingly low in relation to the size, was
yet too high for any one family of very poor people. This led to
the evil of subletting. The tenant who has taken a six-room
apartment at eight dollars a month sublets rooms at one dollar
and a half or two dollars a month to those who can pay so much,
and a corner of a room, or a corridor, to a poorer tenant, thus
making an income of fifteen dollars or more, over and above the
cost of his own rent.

This means that the problem of existence is in great part
solved for him, and that in every case he adds to his income
through usury. The one who holds the lease traffics in the misery
•of his fellow tenants, lending small sums 'at a rate which generally
corresponds to twenty cents a week for the loan of two dollars,
•equivalent to an annual rate of-500 per cent.

Thus we have in the evil of subletting the most cruel form of
usury: that which only the poor know how to practice upon the
poor.

To this we must add the evils of crowded living, promiscuous-
ness, immorality, crime. Every little while the newspapers uncover
for us one of these interieurs: a large family, growing boys and
girls sleep in one room; while one corner of the room is occupied
1>y an outsider, a woman who receives the nightly visits of men.
This is seen by the boys and girls; evil passions are kindled that
lead to the crime and bloodshed which unveil for a brief instant
"before our eyes, in some lurid paragraph, this little detail of the
mass of misery.

Whoever enters, for the first time, one of these apartments is
astonished and horrified. For this spectacle of genuine misery is
not at all like the garish scene he has imagined. We enter here a
-world of shadows, and that which strikes us first is the darkness